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Itinerary

The Powder Belt Tour

Tokyo & Central Hokkaido (Furano - Tomamu - Kamui - Asahidake - Sahoro - Tokachidake)
13 days
£4,288

BACKCOUNTRY TOUR / GUIDED & HOSTED (for 8 days)

After a couple of nights in Tokyo - time to get to grips with the time difference whilst exploring the world's most exciting capital - you then fly north to Hokkaido Island where you meet the group. You then have 8-days of skiing / riding, with a local guide and several like-minded powderhounds.

You are based in central Hokkaido, with Furano as your base throughout. This is where you find some of  Japan’s most easily-accessible, and best, backcountry. This is a tour perfect for those don’t feel the need to hike all day, instead using touring gear to open up a whole new white world. What we're saying is this - in another country what would require a massive hike, in central Hokkaido is instead an easily-accessible 15-20 minute tour away from the top lifts.

This itinerary will have you spending time in the lift-accessed resorts of Furano, Kamui, Tomamu, Asahidake and Sahoro - and from each you will head into the backcountry for endless fresh lines. On the final 'group' day, and if energy levels are up, then they up the anti and head out ion a full day's touring in Tokachidake - another lesser-known backcountry zone.

With one extra day after the group leaves - logistical reasons dictate that guests from the UK need one more day on the slopes freeskiing in Furano, ho hum! - you then spend a final night in an airport hotel at Sapporo Chitose before flying home to London.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The itinerary, as shown below, is an example. This is how the days may pan out. However, each and every day your guide will consider the weather and fit the day-to-day itinerary around where the best snow is and where the storms may be coming in from. Flexibility is the key factor.

The Powder Belt Tour
 

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1
Fly out of the UK, heading directly to Tokyo on British Airways.
Day 2
Arrive in Tokyo Haneda Airport. Make your way in to the Shinjuku district in central Tokyo (direct Airport Limousine coach) and check in to your hotel. Afternoon and evening at leisure in Tokyo, to explore at your own pace.
Day 3
A full day at leisure in Tokyo. This is free time before the small group tour begins, so you are free to do whatever you wish. Different Snow have produced comprehensive, pragmatic and sometimes irreverent 'How To...' guides to help you explore - full of practical advice, recommendations, sightseeing notes and tips.
Day 4
Make your way back to Tokyo Haneda Airport and fly north to Hokkaido Island. You are met on arrival at Chitose Airport and have a coach transfer booked to take you to Kitanomine Village in Furano, your base for the following eight nights. At your hotel the group assembles and you'll meet your tour managers and lead guide, who'll run through the itinerary, the local conditions, set expectations and answer any questions. Then it's time for a drink or three in the bar with your fellow group members.
Day 5
For your first day on the slopes you will stay local and ski / ride in Furano. Worry not...finding the powder will be the sole focus of the day. But they'll use the terrain to make sure everyone is comfortable with the touring gear and ready for the challange that lies ahead. In the evening it's the official 'Welcome Dinner'....i.e. a party!
Day 6
Head over to TOMAMU for the day. Here it is all about the trees and bowls, with the north bowl collecting the lightest and driest powder of the region. Access is only a 20-30 minute tour back to the resort and this is where you'll get loads of backcountry laps in.
Day 7
Head north for a day at KAMUI, which is the ski field closest to Asahikawa City. This is one of our favourite ski mountains in Hokkaido, criminally underrated by the masses. It provides access to some truly epic backcountry straight off the lifts...and then it is only a short hike back to resort. You end the day with a relaxing soak in Ashibetsu Onsen, before heading back to Furano for dinner and drinks.
Day 8
Another day to stay local - Furano's backcountry has so much to offer and you will have barely scratched the surface on your first ski day. However, if you need a mid-holiday rest, then this would be the day to do something cultural or head out on an activity; snowmobiling / ice fishing...etc.
Day 9
It's all been leading to this....a day on ASAHIDAKE. Head to the huge volcano, with one ropeway up and and thousands of routes down. Think bottomless powder, steep chutes, fumaroles (steam vents), bowls above the tree-line and then lower down the most perfect gladed skiing / riding you've ever experienced. Pop out at the bottom of the cable car, grab a coffee, straight back up again...and repeat. So much backcountry top explore! Once again, the day ends with a celebratory soak in the onsen, before heading back to Furano.
Day 10
Today you head in the opposite direction to MINAMI-FURANO - a little resort with an expansive backcountry. Truth be told, this will be the resort-of-choice for any day when the winds are up. This undiscovered little gem is the favourite of many of the local guides, where you'll find some of Hokkaido's best tree skiing which drops down to road pick ups. In the evening you'll head to Furano town-proper (i.e. not only Kitanomine Village) for a wander around and dinner in one of it’s many great restaurants. Afterwards? A cheeky local beer at the brewery.
Day 11
On the last day with the group, and if you still have the energy levels to stray away from any lifts, then you'll all head over to TOKACHIDAKE. You take the 4WD to the highest drivable point on Hokkaido Island and from here you access one of Japan's largest National Parks. There is a huge backcountry touring zone to explore...though no mechanised means of getting uphill. Tonight is your final night with your group, so some revelry may ensue.
Day 12
Many of the group will depart today - as same-day flights take them back to Australia and New Zealand. However, flights back to the UK don't work quite as well, so this means you have a full extra day to enjoy the slopes of Furano by yourself (or by yourselves). And because you've already had two ski days here with your guide, then you'll know the lay of the land - and exactly where to head for the powder hits! In the late afternoon we have booked you on a coach back to Sapporo Chitose Airport and you have an evening in the Terminal Hotel, ready for your super-early flight(s) tomorrow.
Day 13
Your flight out of Sapporo Chitose is early morning, and you then connect through Tokyo Haneda and fly directly home to the UK on British Airways. Arrive home mid-afternoon on the same day, because you fly with the time difference.

Dates, Cost & Inclusions

 

DATES

24 Dec 2020 – 5 Jan 2021 

12 – 24 Jan 2021 

20 Jan – 1 Feb 2021 

28 Jan – 9 Feb 2021 

10 – 22 Feb 2021 

18 Feb – 2 Mar 2021 

26 Feb – 10 Mar 2021 

COST

£4,288 per person* / single supplement = £670

Note: an early booking discount is in place until 30th September - save £250 per person

*note that this cost may vary and this is usually down to the costs of the international flights. This is more likely over Christmas / New Year or other peak dates. We will confirm the price if you call us (or email) to check availability.

TOUR INCLUSIONS

International flights on British Airways.

Japan domestic flights on Japan Airlines.

Full guided & hosted whilst in Furano.

Airport transfers from Sapporo Chitose to Furano (return).

Daily transport to / from the ski mountains.

2 nights twin room in Kadoya Hotel, Tokyo. Breakfast is included.

8 nights twin / triple share accommodation at Rising Sun B&B, Furano. Breakfast is included. 

1 night in twin room at the the Terminal Hotel, Sapporo Chitose. Breakfast is included.

7 days guiding in the resorts and the backcountry areas.

Lift passes for any resort as required (final day in Furano, excepted).

Welcome & farewell dinner party.

Onsen / hot springs entrance.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

Rental equipment.

Avalanche gear rental.

Different Snow can arrange pre or post trip extensions. Perhaps Niseko in western Hokkaido or one of the ski resorts on in the Japanese Alps on Honshu Island? Or more time exploring Japan - Kyoto and / or Takayama?

Accommodation & Ability Requirements

 

ACCOMMODATION

Kadoya Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Rising Sun B&B in Furano.

Terminal Hotel in Sapporo Chitose Airport.

 

SKI / SNOWBOARD ABILITY

5:1 Client to Guide ratio (i.e. two guides will accompany the group, if full).

5-10 people max per tour (four person minimum).

You must have a very good level of fitness and be able to hike for around 1-2 hours total per day. The idea of these tours is to use the lifts for their vertical bump, smash the easy pow then use our touring gear to go further and further away from the lifts in search of more fresh lines. On some days we will not use the lifts at all – it’s all up to the group and the conditions.

You must be able to ski/board the whole mountain in all conditions confidently at speed and have advanced ability in powder, through trees in steep terrain and in variable conditions.

Snowboarders in this level are able to keep speed in flat sections by planning ahead as well as hold a solid traverse line and be able to hop up and manoeuvre in a way as to not slow down the group.

Groups are split up into ski/board/ability levels and AT/skins set-up or split-boards are required. You must have had some experience using this equipment. 

What our customers say

4.5 star rating

Our customers rate us 'Excellent'

Highly recommend

We had no idea what to expect in Japan (or how we would get around), we couldn't have done it without the expertise and guide documents from Different Snow. Everything on the holiday ran very smoothly and we felt like we could call at any time if we had any questions.

Grace  ·  TrustPilot (verified review)

Different Snow - Different Class!

Late last summer we decided on a family ski trip to Japan. It was late notice really but we thought it worth a try. Different Snow somehow managed to put together a great holiday. DS organised all transfers, and provided a brilliant itinerary. We would thoroughly recommend them.

Stuart  ·  TrustPilot (verified review)

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